Isaac Buck (1757-1846), a Revolutionary War Soldier
A Revolutionary War Soldier who lived in Sterling, Worcester, Massachusetts.
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The Life of Isaac Buck (1757-1846)
1757-1846 | Massachusetts
The circumstances of the birth of Isaac Buck are interesting. The printed Southborough VR book says:
"BUCK, Isaac, s. Isaac Buck and Mary Richards, Sept 27, 1757"
The handwritten Southborough town record book says:
"Born to Mary Richards, a son named Isaac Buck reputed by her to be a son of Isaac Buck on Sepr 27, 1757."
There's a big difference in these two records. The first implies that Isaac Buck and Mary Richards were married, the second is pretty explicit that they were not married. The latter record is on the same page, and just below, the list of children born to Joseph and Mary Richards, including their daughter Mary in 1733.
As described in the Richards research, Mary Richards married widower John Phillips in 1774; presumably, Mary's son Isaac Buck went to live with his mother in Shrewsbury. John Phillips had four children by his first wife, Hannah Brown, including Martha/Patty Phillips. Isaac Buck and Patty Phillips married: the Lancaster MA town records show "May 18 1780, marriage of Isaac Buck and Patty Phillips, both of Lancaster, consummated by Rev. Reuben Holcomb." (LDS FHL Microfilm 0,547,550, page 126).
The book by Henry S. Nourse, "The Military Annals of Lancaster Mass.1740-1865", published in Lancaster MA, 1889, notes on page 128 that: "Isaac Buck, in Captain Benjamin Hastings' Company of Bolton, etc" and on page 191: "Isaac Buck in Captain Zebedee Redding's Company, 14th regiment, Bolton Continental Soldiers, 1777-9."
During the Revolutionary War in 1775, young Isaac Buck was in Captain Benjamin Hastings company of Bolton, Colonel Asa Whitcomb's regiment. He was matross in Captain James Swan's company, Colonel James Craft's regiment, in 1776. A "matross" was a private in the army who aided the artillery gunners to load, fire and sponge the guns. He was also in Captain Philip Marett's company in 1776-1777. He was in the Continental Army in Captain John Houghton's company, Colonel Josiah Whitney's regiment in 1778, and was in Captain Redding's company, Colonel Gamaliel Bradford's regiment in 1777. In 1780 and 1781, he was in Captain Thomas Jackson's company, Colonel John Crane's Third Artillery regiment.
The marriage of Isaac Buck and Patty Phillips, both of Lancaster, was performed by Rev. Reuben Holcomb in Lancaster ("Vital Records of Lancaster Mass," LDS Film 547550, page 126).
Isaac Buck was listed in Sterling in the 1790 US census (Worcester Co MA, LDS FHL Microfilm # p. 236).
In the 1810 U.S. Census for Worcester County MA, Isaac Buck headed a household in Sterling which included one male aged over 45, 1 male aged 10 to 16, two males aged 0-10, one female aged over 45, one female aged 16 to 26 and one female age 10-16 (LDS FHL Microfilm 0,205,630, p. 116).
The Revolutionary War Pension Abstract for Isaac Buck reads:
"BUCK, Isaac, S34136, Cont & MA Line, appl 8 Apr 1818 Worcester Cty MA aged 60 a res of Sterling MA, in 1820 sol had a wife Patty aged 60 and a son Isaac 14 his only child living at home" (Virgil White, "Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pensions", Vol. 1; p. 450).
The Revolutionary War Pension file for Isaac Buck indicates that for his service, he was awarded a pension of $8 per month commencing 8 April 1818. Isaac Buck says:
"I, Isaac Buck, a citizen of the United States, now resident at Sterling in the County of Worcester in the State aforesaid, do on oath testify and declare that in the War of the revolution in the month of December in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy nine, I entered and engaged in the land service of the United States on the continental establishment, and served accordingly from that time to the end of the war as a private against the common enemy without any interruption or absence, that I belonged to Captain Jackson's company of Artillery in Colonel Crane's Regiment under the command of General Knox, and that I left the service in the month of June 1783 at West Point when the Army was disbanded, and that by reason of my reduced circumstances in life and poverty, I stand in need of assistance from my country and support being now of the age of sixty years - and I hereby relinquish all claims to every pension heretofore allowed me by the laws of the United States if any may be or hath been allowed. My discharge was lost from my pocket many years since and is not in existence."
/signed/ Isaac Buck.
A schedule of the property belonging to Isaac Buck of Sterling as of May 1 1820 included:
"one cow - one clock - one table - one looking glass - one chest - one shovel - one tongs - crockery - glass stemware - one old axe - one hoe - one old plough - one old wagon - one pot - one kettle - one pair of dogs - three old chairs - six knives and forks - $30.25"
The schedule also says, apparently written for Isaac Buck:
"The said applicant is a farmer, but wholly unable to labour the present season on account of a wound in his shoulder in May last - and never expects to perform much labour hereafter. His wife named Patty Buck is aged 60 years - is barely able to do the work of her house. I have but one child at home named Isaac Buck aged 14 years and performs as much labour as other farmer's boys at his age, but does nothing toward my support. This is the whole of my family. /signed/ Isaac Buck."
In the 1820 US Census, the Isaac Buck family resided in Sterling, Worcester County, Massachusetts (National Archives Microfilm Series M33, Roll 54, Page 67). The household included one male age 10-16, one male age 16-26, one male over age 45, and two females over age 45.
In the 1830 US Census, the Isaac Buck family resided in Sterling, Worcester County, Massachusetts (National Archives Microfilm Series M19, Roll 68, Page 51, indexed as "Isaac Busk"). The household included one male age 30-40, one mail age 70-80, one female age 5-10, one female age 10-15, and one female age 30-40.
In the 1840 US Census, Isaac Buck does not appear as a named entry in the household listings. However, he does appear in the list of names of Revolutionary War Veterans as "Isaac Buck, age 83" in Sterling, Worcester County, Massachusetts (National Archives Microfilm Series Roll 199, Page 14).
The death record in the Sterling vital record book reads:
"Registered Feby 10 1846; Isaac Buck, male, widower; age 93y 11m 20d; Revolutionary Pensioner; died February 7th 1846; died of old age; born in Southborough; Illegitimate."
No parents are listed for him - only the sad note "Illegitimate". He was buried in Leg Cemetery in Sterling (Esther K. Whitcomb, editor, Inscriptions from Burial Grounds of the Nashaway Towns", Heritage Books, says on page 176: "Isaac Buck b 27 Sept 1757 d (?), REV. in Leg Cemetery, W. Sterling"), and has a Sons of the American Revolution placard on his grave, which is under a tree in the left front of the graveyard. There is no gravestone for his wife. The age at death given in this record does not agree with the published birth date of Isaac Buck, but my conclusion is that it doesn't really matter.
After visiting the Sterling town library, I wrote the Sterling Historical Society. I received a letter in response from Robert Waters of Sterling MA, who is also a descendant of Isaac Buck, through his son Silas Buck, a farmer, carpenter and millwright in West Sterling. Bob provided a substantial list of descendants of Isaac and Patty (Phillips) Buck, plus published and unpublished documents.
A search of the Worcester County Probate Record Index revealed no probate records for Isaac or Martha Buck.